WHAT ATHEISTS THINK OF YOU
The hottest battles in
culture's war against faith
are happening in our
homes and schools.
by Ken Ryland
The gloves have come off. Modern atheists have become militant. Most repugnant to them is the idea that you should be able to pass your Christian values to your children. They have declared war on religion, particularly on Christianity. Most Christians have no idea that they, and especially their children, are the targets of this massive assault.
Many Christians know that something is wrong, that our children are turning away from our long-cherished values and beliefs. Most chalk this up to the pressures of modern society, but it's much more than that. Young people are leaving the church as never before and abandoning their family values. What the Devil wants most is to make sure there is no "next generation of Christians" in this and other Western countries. The frontline of this battle is in our taxpayer-funded school classrooms.
This is not an attack on public school teachers. There are many very good Christian teachers in public schools. The problem lies with the secularist philosophy of modern education, as practiced in colleges of teacher education. The war is on, and Christians need to understand the stakes in this battle.
War in the classroom
The first weapon in the atheist war against religion is to elimi-
nate overtly Christian influences in pubic schools. Many schools have come under attack from groups like the ACLU, threatening them with lawsuits if they continue to offer prayers at sporting events, sing Christian songs at concerts — in short, any public display of religion by students. Rather than fight against this absurdity, many school districts have simply thrown in the towel and acquiesced to the demands of anti-religious groups. After all, lawsuits are costly, and many school administrators don't have the stomach for such a fight — either that, or they secretly agree with the demands of those making these threats.
There was a time when prayer was commonly accepted in our schools, but no more. One of the first acts of Congress after ratification of the American Constitution was to publish Bibles for the express purpose of being read and taught in our schools. Compare that with today. Student Bible clubs and religious groups have to go to court just to have equal status with others meeting in our public schools, like gay, lesbian, and transgender groups. Christian kids are being hammered by atheists and secularists.
The assault on religion continues in the science classroom. One of the principal sources of contention is the insistence of explaining science through the lens of Darwinism. Everything in science today revolves around the concept of evolution, which is patently anti-religious. Even though the majority of citizens believe in some form of creation, Darwinism is assumed to un-dergird all scientific discussion. Other options are not permitted.
Anyone who questions the invalidity of Darwinism, whether I student or school board, is either openly ridiculed or challenged with a lawsuit. There is no middle ground in this battle — no cry for "tolerance" toward religious people. As physicist Steven Weinberg states, "I personally feel that the teaching of modern science is coercive of religious belief, and I'm all for that." Weinberg continues on to say that if scientists can destroy the influence of religion on young people, "then I think it may be the most important contribution we can make."
Atheist Carl Sagan for many years had a program on PBS called Cosmos. His trademark slogan for that program went like this: "The cosmos is all there is or ever was or ever will be." This program was often recommended as a supplement to classroom studies. Its message was that what we see, feel, and measure is all that exists. The supernatural does not exist.
At a 2006 conference on science and religion, Carolyn Porco, a research scientist, recommended ways to eliminate the supernatural as a subject of devotion:
"We should let the success of the religious formula guide us. Let's teach our children from a very young age about the story of the universe and its incredible richness and beauty. It is already so much more glorious and awesome — and even comforting — than anything offered by any Scripture or God concept I know."
At a lecture a few years ago psychologist Nicholas Humphrey argued that secular teachers and professors should work to free children from the damaging influence of their parents' religious instruction. "Parents, correspondingly, have no God-given license to inculturate their children in whatever ways they personally choose: no right to limit the horizons of their children's knowledge, to bring them up in an atmosphere of dogma and superstition, or to insist that they follow the straight and narrow path of their own faith."
Another strategy to discredit parental values and promote atheism is in the area of adolescent sexuality. One agnostic expressed it this way: "Against the power of religion we employ an equal if not greater power— the power of hormones." For him, religion is viewed as sexual repression and atheism as the means for young people to be liberated from moral restraint and indulge their sexual appetites.
Noted atheist Aldous Huxley once stated:
"I had motives for not wanting the world to have meaning; consequently I assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. ... For myself [and] my contemporaries, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation. The Liberation we desired was . . . liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom."
One recommendation of atheist philosopher Richard Rorty is that anti-religious professors at universities should "arrange things so that students who enter as bigoted, homophobic religious fundamentalists will leave college with views more like their own." Rorty stated that students were fortunate to find themselves "under the benevolent Herrschaft [rule] of people like me, and to have escaped the grip of their frightening7-vicio-us,-dangerous parents." Parents who send their children to college should be aware that as professors "we are going to go right on trying to discredit you in the eyes of your children, trying to strip your fundamentalist religious community of dignity, trying to make your views seem silly rather than discussable."
If you have any doubts about this agenda, think about these words of noted atheist Richard Dawkins: "Faith is one of the world's great evils, comparable to the smallpox virus but harder to eradicate. Religion is capable of driving people to such dangerous folly that faith seems to me to qualify as a kind of mental illness."
In response to the belief of many Christians that God speaks to them and answers their prayers, Dawkins responds, "many inhabitants of lunatic asylums have an unshakable faith that they are Napoleon ... But this is no reason for the rest of us to believe them."
If parents want to preserve their children's love for God and Jesus Christ, they need to begin with a lot of Bible teaching and good example in the home and then consider other educational alternatives such as private Christian schools. As author and Chris-
tian apologist Dinesh D'Souza puts it:
"Children spend the majority of their waking hours in school. Parents invest a good portion of their life savings in college education to entrust their offspring to people who are supposed to educate them. Isn't it wonderful that educators have figured out a way to make parents the instruments of their own undoing? Isn't it brilliant that they have persuaded Christian moms and dads to finance the destruction of their own beliefs and values?"
The temples in which atheists and secularists worship include public schools, colleges, and universities. Christians must cease being timid believers. The world waits for us to be bold and proclaim the Word of God fearlessly. Have we forgotten our first love, or are we willing to move in front of the crowd and beckon men and women to come to Christ, the only way of salvation? Our children are looking for us to leave them a legacy of hope and victory in Christ Jesus.
Ken Ryland attends
CoG7 in Wichita, KS,
and serves as editor of The Sabbath
by the Bible Sabbath Association (www.biblesab-
bath.org). An unabridged version
of this article first appeared in
that magazine (September-October
The majority of these quotes are taken from chapter 4 of Dinesh D'Souza's book What's So Great About Christianity.